Cantilever Racking is the most common method of racked storage for both Hardwood and Softwood Timber products.
The system of legs – or columns to give them their correct term, have a number of arms attached to them by a variety of means (by pins, bolts or rarely by welding) that protrude clear of the columns.
The columns are connected together for lateral stability by a series of cross braces and tie beams. This gives an uninterrupted run of storage – ideal for accommodating the long product lengths that Timber is stocked in.
Other methods include Vertical Storage (often called A-Frames) – where Timber is stored by being leant upright against a series of beams, or Pigeon Hole Storage – where Timber is stored horizontally in small compartments. The downside with both of these systems is the necessity to put stock away manually which is time-consuming. In the case of Vertical Storage, there is then the added drawback of the Timber being prone to warp through differential drying, due to the heat gradient found in most buildings particularly in the summer months.
The rise in the use of Cantilever Racking in the Timber industry can be correlated directly to the trend for end users to purchase only the amount of timber for which they have an immediate use. The tightening of credit facilities and the requirement for companies to tightly control their cash flow and stock levels, means that they no longer take full packs of material that may take several weeks or even months to consume
This trend has subsequently resulted in an increase in multi drop deliveries being necessary with a much greater number of smaller orders being processed. This in turn puts pressure on the order picking systems with lower cycle times necessary. The pressure on margins brought about from increasing levels of competition in a demanding market operating with the background of a major recession, doesn’t allow for the convenient option of hiring more staff and buying or leasing more mechanical handling equipment.
Using Cantilever Racks to store Timber not only ensures that it is more safely stored than simple block stacking, but also has the major benefit of allowing selections of individual lengths to meet those increasing numbers of smaller and more varied orders. This is either directly from the rack or by bringing a pack stored at high level down to the ground with the pack then returning it to its original location after selection has taken place.
This is a much more efficient process than moving several packs of bulk stacked Timber (inevitably it is three lengths of Timber from the pack at the bottom of a three deep and four high bulk pile that is required) and offers the added benefit of lower levels of stock damage as packs are handled less frequently before being exhausted.
Use of modern multi-directional rough terrain side-loading reach trucks with their relatively low bed heights has enabled hand selection of the bottom two or three levels in the racks. This allows peak demand cycles to be accommodated by temporarily increasing manpower without the need for additional mechanical handling equipment.
To summarise, Cantilever Racks allow a reduced cycle for order selection, allowing optimal use of vehicle space whilst also reducing levels of stock damage. All of these benefits along with high levels of customer satisfaction and the resulting repeat business, make investment in Cantilever Racking a compelling argument for all Timber Merchants.